Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Boston, Salazar, Bill and Penn--------more running stimulus

Seen and heard at the Boston Marathon...

New Products bloom with Spring
Each year we seem to receive emails or hear ads on TV and on the web about new or updated running-related products. This spring is no different than previous years. Everything from reusable ice packs, energy drinks, appetite suppressing energy bars to how-to training books have reached our desks. There are some trends.

Footwear: Brighter colors are creeping towards are feet. Maybe you can credit NIKE RUNNING for the NIKEiD™ program where anyone can pick the design and color scheme on select footwear. Take a look at the bright neon pink and neon yellow shoes on the starting line of the elite women in the 113th Boston Marathon on April 20. The appeal seems to be matching apparel bright colors with the shoes. Fashion on the streets is now on the start lines of road races.

"Wait, wait, wait, wait....SPRINT!"
...Kara Goucher when asked just before the gun on her race strategy for the Boston Marathon. Goucher put on a gutty performance on Marathon Monday in her debut Boston Marathon. The finish was the closest finish ever on the women's side. Three women were only separated by seconds on Boylston St! Kara Goucher gets my vote for best fresh face and competitor in road racing. Kara waited and took the lead after Boston College but the last sprint gear was not there and she finished a close 3rd-----just behind the first two finishers who were only separated by 1 second.

Energy "Snack" Bars: Pacific Health Labs is out with an energy……err, snack bar and drink product that are intent on limiting the urge to overeat while providing good nutrition. It is called FORZE GPS. In bar form it is a 1.4 oz snack bar carrying 160 calories of which 50 calories are fat. Can one bar really suppress the body’s appetite? It does not seem plausible without some magic bullet ingredient. Pacific Health Labs is the company that has popularized recovery drinks with their leading sellers Accelerade and Endurox. Now FORZE GPS is here to help the aging athlete who may be a bit overweight and needs an assist in shedding weight while maintaining a workout or running regimen. I wondered how some blend of milk, peanuts and cocoa extracts could stimulate an enzyme “cholecystokinin” or CCK. This enzyme is key to making us feel less hungry. Can this really work for runners after a 5 mile run? Runners find it more difficult to shed pounds while actively running may check out this new snack. Time will tell.
From the Heart...
Salazar thankful for Cardiac Event: The American Medical Athletic Association (AMAA)was privileged to host a special “doctor-patient” presentation by one of our new cardiologist members Dr Todd Caulfield and one of the greatest distance runners in U.S. history, Alberto Salazar. Back in June 2007, Alberto Salazar was on top of his new profession: professional coach. He had nurtured a new approach to distance training with the Oregon Project. Now, it was whittled down to a smaller elite group that included Kara and Adam Goucher and the young track distance phenom Galen Rupp. On the Nike campus in Beaverton Oregon, this day in June was supposed to be another normal track workout. It turned out to be a life-changing event for Salazar and his stable of athletes. Alberto Salazar suffered a near fatal cardiac event (*Dr Caulfield is still unsure if his collapse and heart stoppage was a heart muscle event or an electrical problem in the heart). Alberto was down for almost 28 minutes before normal rhythm was restored.

Hydration and running: Our AMAA Sports Medicine Symposium had another passionate presentation by Dr Arthur Siegel of McLean Hospital in Greater Boston. Dr Siegel’s research on the effects of over hydration and runners dates back to the tragic death of Cynthia Lucero at the Boston Marathon in 2002. Since that date, his efforts along with several other prominent Medical Directors of marathons has shed light on why certain runners develop the dangerous case of exercise associated hyponatremia (over hydration). What have Dr Siegel and other leading physicians in the road race industry done to stave off deaths due to over hydration? Seven years later and we now know what triggers hyponatremia. We know that runners can accelerate the process hours after finishing a marathon. Race teams know how to identify both dehydrated runners and over hydrated runners quickly. Triage stations in finish line medical tents do the blood test that determines who to treat and how they should be treated. Today, medical teams at road races have hypertonic saline (3% solution) vice the standard 1% solution that can easily treat runners with heat exhaustion and dehydration. Local ERs in hospitals that serve marathons and other endurance events are included in pre-event planning.

Bill Rodgers returned to the Boston Marathon. One year ago Bill Rodgers got a jolt from his physician. He had prostate cancer. Rodgers, affectionately called “Boston Billy” after winning Boston 4-times, took the diagnosis on with full fervor. He had surgery and then did what he does best-------go running. Rodger’s physician, Dr Ed Knights joined AMAA and ran the Boston Marathon with AMAA last spring. In his first Boston, he qualified to run the marathon again. So in 2009, Bill Rodgers gave Dr Knights something back: he told him he’d race Boston alongside Knights and promote a “Cure for Prostate Cancer”. The AMAA member M.D. and Bill had a great time running in the pack in just over 4 hours, along with Rodgers’ friend Zeus Estrada.

More Runners' Stimulus -------another Jewel Event--PENN RELAYS.
Two days after Boston, I ventured to another East Coast City and one of the great events in track & field, the PENN RELAYS. Funny thing is that the Boston Marathon just completed its 113th running. The true granddaddy of running is the PENN RELAYS: 115 years and more popular than ever. A high school athlete can compete in front of 24,000 fans in preliminary rounds. If he or she is fortunate to run on Saturday in a finals event, they will be lined up on the start line with upwards of 60,000 fans screaming the Whoop-Whoop-Whoop call if you hunt down a competitor in the closing stretch of race. The PENN RELAYS brings together the best of high school, college and the professionals of track and field in a 3 day meet unrivaled in the world. Philadelphia loves the Relays, as does Jamaica. On Saturday, the stands are split fairly evenly between Jamaican and American track fans. Many years ago, the Penn Relays Committee began a new era when Jamaican high schools and collegians were invited to compete in the PENN RELAYS. Attendance and interest took off and now has spurred a professional sprint dual meet series with Jamaica that kicks off in 2010. Give the Penn Relays credit for starting the US vs. JAMAICA rivalry. For high school track athletes in the U.S., the top teams to beat in 3 key relay events are Jamaican: 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800. Only the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) is still a U.S. dominated relay event. Over 26 high schools in Jamaica send their best relay squads north to compete. U.S. teams come to try and win the most coveted trophy in amateur track and field: the 2-3 ft diameter bronze CHAMPIONSHIP OF AMERICA Trophy. Ask any high school or college track team what trophy is most memorable and it has to be the CHAMPIONSHIP OF AMERICA Trophy.

Word from Philly is that all hotels for PENN RELAYS weekend were fully occupied. Vendors and restaurants were smiling and track and field fans were obliging. Runners and track fans have the right answer: do what you love and pass it along to others.

Keep enjoying the run and spend a few dollars along the way.



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